A Hundred Gourds 2:2 March 2013
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Kozue Uzawa – Tanka poet, Founder and Editor of GUSTS.

| Introduction | page 2 | page 3 | page 4 |

After GUSTS No.2 was published, Angela was no longer involved with the journal. I was not sure whether I would be able to produce GUSTS all by myself. Angela had been doing all the editing work in Montreal and I was just doing the treasurer’s work in Alberta. I had no experience editing poetry journals, no experience dealing with printing shops, and no experience creating artistic covers.

I was at a loss, and sent an email to Amelia Fielden in Australia asking what to do with GUSTS. She forwarded my email to the tanka circle. I started receiving encouraging email one after another from Canada, USA, Australia, etc. Many tanka poets offered to help. I was very moved and decided to continue with GUSTS.

The first thing I did was to organize teams for tanka selection, book reviewing, and proofreading. Many GUSTS members volunteered to work for these teams. At the moment, Pamela A. Babusci (USA), Claudia Coutu Radmore (Canada), Joanne Morcom (Canada), Patricia Prime (New Zealand), Guy Simser (Canada), Paul Smith (UK), and David Terelinck (Australia) are working as the selection team. Maxianne Berger (Canada), Joanne Morcom (Canada), Marjorie A. Buettner (USA), Raffael de Gruttola (USA) are writing book reviews regularly. Claudia, Joanne, and David are also proofreading each issue. I also appreciate the valuable assistance of Amelia Fielden, Giselle Maya (France), and Raffael de Cruttola, who worked on previous editorial boards.

Besides setting up these teams, I also reviewed the Tanka Canada’s financial state and reduced the printing volume based on the number of members in 2005 and 2006. This immediately cut our costs in half. By gradually increasing our numbers over the past six years, however, we’ve been able to double our production from 150 to 300.

In the summer of 2007, I retired from the University of Lethbridge and came back to Vancouver. I had to find a new printing house for GUSTS. It was not easy to find a reliable and reasonable printer. After some trial and error, I was fortunate to find Royal Printers. When I was looking for a cover artist, they introduced me to From issue No.9 on, it’s been my job to create covers using royalty-free photos downloaded from their website. By paying a nominal annual fee, we can download many inexpensive or free photos. We can keep the artistic standard quite high while keeping the expenses very minimal.

Although I am the managing editor, I do not join the selection team. I receive submissions and keep a record of each one and its author. Anonymity is important for fairness during the selection process so I make a submission list (without author’s names) and email it to the seven members of our selection committee. They vote for good tanka independently. After receiving all the votes I make the selection for the next issue. The cutting line is usually three votes. In this way, we publish only the best tanka in GUSTS.

Many Tanka Canada members praise my way of grouping tanka by themes. I owe this method to Angela Leuck who used this approach in GUSTS No.1 and 2. I thought it was unique and wise. It’s easy and enjoyable for the reader and, at the same time, each tanka enhances others with the same theme. It takes time for me to read all the selected tanka and think about themes, but I’m enjoying this process. It’s fun.

The physical size of  GUSTS is fairly large compared to other tanka and haiku journals. It’s printed on US letter-size paper. Since GUSTS No.10 (fall/winter 2009) there have been 32 pages per issue. (It was just 20 pages when we started in 2005.) At present, there are about 100 poets who submit tanka regularly, and about 250 tanka are printed in each issue. Our poets come from Canada, USA, Australia, Japan, UK, New Zealand, Austria, Germany, France, South Africa, Ethiopia, Romania, and Slovenia, making it a very international journal. The circulation currently stands at 300. This means we are publishing many good tanka in each issue for many readers. It has been my dream to spread tanka outside Japan. I’m doing my best to fulfill that dream.


The First Issue of GUSTS, published in 2005.